Tag: Facebook

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The FTC Unfriends Facebook

 

While Facebook thrives in the marketplace, the company is under siege by angry critics both inside and outside of government over privacy issues. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that Facebook violated its 2011 privacy consent decree and may impose a fine on the company of up to $5 billion. The FTC alleges that Facebook did not do enough to protect user data from being improperly exploited by Cambridge Analytica, which used that data to supply strategy advice to the Trump campaign.

In one sense, the fine is the least of Facebook’s worries; other initiatives are in development to alter the way the company does business. With her usual lack of caution, Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for the breakup of Facebook, Amazon, and Google on the ground that their allegedly monopolistic practices tend to squash smaller upstarts, leading to what she laments as a rapid decline in competition and innovation across an industry that has been defined by fierce competition and high levels of innovation. Warren doubled down on her position by recently unveiling a new bill imposing criminal liability—including jail time—on corporate executives for simple negligence in carrying out their manifold duties.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why I Left Facebook

 

Four years ago a cartoon contest was held in Garland, Texas. Organizers encouraged contestants to draw political cartoons in response to a terrorist attack by Islamic supremacists on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Parisian newspaper, in January of 2015, in which a dozen people, including the newspaper’s publishing director Stéphane Charbonnier, were murdered.

This is the winning cartoon, drawn by a fellow named Bosch Fawstin.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. As a Man Thinketh in His Heart . . .

 

After numerous startling Facebook suggestions echoing sentiments I’d expressed aloud less than twenty-four hours before, I’ve quit fighting the idea that some apps on our devices are picking up on our conversations to suggest products and articles that suit our needs. Too far-fetched? How about this? I feel old and tired, I remark to my sister as we ride together in the car. The next day, an article with helpful tips appears in my feed. The title: “Feeling Old and Tired?” I took a screenshot of this stunning example of eavesdropping devices.

Then there was the time someone said to me, Not everyone appreciates me being frank and honest. The next day, there in my newsfeed, in case I needed to read up on the topic, was the article, “The Virtues of Frankness and Honesty.” Coincidence? Probably I had more chance of winning the lotto than encountering a coincidence like that.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can Washington Solve Facebook’s Problems?

 

If Mark Zuckerberg’s call for more government regulation of the tech sector had been published today rather than over weekend, some might have thought it an April Fools Day prank. After all, what company or industry wants more Washington meddling?

But there’s good reason for the Facebook boss to make just such an ask. Politicians on the left and the right have been pushing for new rules or even the break-up of the social media giant. And a slew of controversies has damaged its reputation — election meddling, data privacy, and what the company calls “controversial, harmful, and hateful” content — giving a further boost to anti-Facebook activists and pols.

As Facebook celebrates its 15th anniversary, it is coming into controversies on all sides: political, psychological, social, and more. Thus, Jack assembles a panel of youth to discuss their own experiences with Facebook and how it has affected them. They also reveal their thoughts about the site’s effect on themselves, their peers, and society as a whole.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wake up the President? Terrorist Mass Murder at New Zealand Mosques [Updated midday Friday]

 

On Friday afternoon, 15 March 2019, New Zealand time, there was a horrific terrorist attack at least two mosques in New Zealand. They are 20 hours ahead of the U.S. West Coast time. According to the initial reports, an attacker livestreamed the event. The image, at right, was captured by media before the video was taken down. There apparently was a lengthy manifesto. There have been multiple people arrested. It appears this was an attack by white New Zealand and Australian citizens on Muslims.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “This can only be described as a terrorist attack.” The linked BBC page has a series of videos. The PM is not inclined to tweet. Indeed, you can see her last communication was in October.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Microsoft Myth: We Shouldn’t Assume More Antitrust Will Give Us More Tech Innovation

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that if Washington breaks up Big Tech — and more aggressively reviews acquisitions going forward — the result will be more competition and thus more innovation than would occur otherwise. Just look at history. As the Democratic presidential candidate explains in a blog post:

The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Elizabeth Warren’s Wrongheaded Plan to Break Up Big Tech

 

An encouraging result of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mega-ambitious plan to break up Amazon, Alphabet-Google, and Facebook is her interview with The Washington Post tech reporter Cat Zakrzewski. At the end of the Q&A, Zakrzewski asked the Democratic 2020 contender, “How do you avoid unintended consequences on innovation if you break the companies up?” To which Warren replied, “I think what we have right now is the unintended consequence. The giants are destroying competition in one area after another.”

This is good. Warren allows for unintended consequences when implementing public policy. Little of the activist feverishness about a Big Tech breakup has acknowledged their existence or that of trade-offs. More should be expected of policymakers. Conceding the reality of both provides a starting point for debate. That said, Warren seems oblivious to the potential unintended consequences or trade-offs of her proposal.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Must There Be a Facebook?

 

It’s a real “… and the problem is what exactly?” sort of headline. This from Axios: “Facebook’s new cash-for-data debacle.”

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to data privacy issues — involving Facebook and other technology companies — then you might be aware some activists and academics have suggested users be paid for their personal data. They criticize the current system as “a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary people to the tech titans.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Formidable to Tyrants Only

 

The title comes from the Declaration of Independence. Third on the list of grievances, Ol’ Tommy J. has this to say:

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

Member Post

 

With my newly minted Coolidge account I shall post! (Someone tell me if I’m doing this wrong.) So this was more of a “Hot Take” when I started thinking about it last week. Since then several events have caused people smarter and with actual audiences to weigh in on this. Variations on “Do We Need […]

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Jim is back! Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer for his powerful ad slamming Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for supporting sanctuary cities and for doing so with the right tone. They also hammer Facebook for censoring numerous Prager U videos and labeling them “hate speech” when there’s nothing hateful about them, and wonder whether Facebook’s monitors have no idea what conservatism is or whether they just give in to the liberal mob. And they shake their heads in disgust after London Mayor Sadiq Khan responds to a vehicular terrorist attack by wanting to ban vehicles in that part of the city.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Booting Alex Jones from Social Media Wasn’t a Bad Idea. But Is There a Better One?

 

The social media banning of loopy provocateur Alex Jones is likely to result in calls from conservatives to regulate or dismantle Big Tech. (The left is more worried about the market power of the tech titans.) Actually it is already happening, at least on Twitter. But even before Jones and his Infowars content got the boot from Apple, YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify, Republicans were calling for action against “censorship of conservatives.”

Their evidence, however, appears to be a smattering of weird one-offs rather than a systemic problem. But politicians and pundits continue to connect the dots. As Sen. Ted Cruz said on a Breitbart podcast last spring: “These tech companies are hard left. . . . They are suppressing the views of conservatives. They are blocking conservatives. . . . That is invidious. It is invisible, and it is profoundly dangerous.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Alex Jones Himself Endorses Vigilantism Against “Wrongthink”

 

Why deplatform Alex Jones now? It may have something to do with this week’s news that Jones is continuing to make life miserable for ordinary Americans he believes are engaged in “wrongthink”: he believes that their belief that they’re just grieving families, not actors in an elaborate hoax, is a belief too wrong to let alone. Alex Jones — the “sheeple” king — has no problem with harassing others over their “wrongthink” as long as his gang is the gang getting away with it.

Back in April, three parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims began suing Jones for defamation. In turn, this August Jones is seeking over $100,000 in damages from the parents of shooting victim Noah Pozner, adding financial insult to the years of injury they’ve already had to endure at the hands of Jones and his fans:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see a key figure from the Florida high school shooting replaced in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office but are irritated the media has stopped covering Sheriff Scott Israel, who still has his job despite failing to perform his duties before and during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They also reject Democrats’ call to regulate the internet as a public utility in the wake of Facebook, Apple, and YouTube’s ban of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And they mourn for Venezuelans as dictator Nicolas Maduro survived a botched drone assassination attempt, and they discuss regulations on drones and the potential to use them for terrorism.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Chad Benson of Radio America are glad Facebook has uncovered and eliminated coordinated activity involving fake accounts that promote fringe political movements on both the far right and far left, thus debunking the idea that Russia wants to elect Republicans. They also fail to see why President Donald Trump keeps sticking his neck out for Paul Manafort, since the charges are separate from the Russia collusion investigation. And they discuss former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’ potential partnership with former John McCain presidential campaign adviser Steve Schmidt to mount a 2020 presidential run.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Weird World of White Allyship

 

As a polite, non-confrontational person, I have a penchant for being invited to Facebook groups that are quite different from anything that I would try to join on my own. In my latest adventure, I was added to a group focusing on JOCs, or “Jews of color.” I thought I knew the two basic rules for white people in these types of places: self-efface, and never disagree with a person of color. But it turns out there is much more to learn!

According to some schools of thought, being a white ally can entail disagreeing with a person of color under the following circumstance: the POC fails to be offended by something a white person said that the POC should have been offended by. It is specifically not the POC’s job to call out offensive content, because that is called ’emotional labor’ and you cannot impose it on them. To be a good ally, you must be offended on their behalf and educate your fellow whites. This applies regardless of whether any actual people of color thought there was anything problematic about the statement(s) under contention.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, the Administrative State, Free Speech, and Silicon Valley Regulation

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had legendary classical liberal legal theorist and longtime professor at University of Chicago Law School and now at NYU Law — and prodigious Ricochet podcaster Professor Richard Epstein on the podcast to discuss among other things:

  • The role that Professor Epstein’s famous book, “Takings” played in Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing — and then-Senator Joe Biden’s hectoring
  • Professor Epstein’s groundbreaking theories on private property rights, eminent domain and the Takings and Commerce Clauses
  • The practical argument against progressivism
  • Whether we should deconstruct the administrative state, and if so how to do it
  • The danger to free speech emanating from college campuses in a world of microaggressions, trigger warnings, de-platforming
  • The folly of regulating Silicon Valley social media companies
  • Classical liberalism versus socialism and libertarianism

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I did it. I finally did it. I started a Facebook argument (a short one, admittedly) with a fair-trade co-op worker. The tussle began when a formerly libertarian high-school friend of mine decided to write an apologetic post about his white privilege. Usually, I ignore Facebook and its associated political gobbledygook. But this piece sent […]

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